Veterinary Questions and Answers
My veterinarian has diagnosed my dog with periodontal disease. What is it and what should I do for my dog?
Periodontal disease is the inflammation of the tissues surrounding a tooth. Left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to severe oral pain, loss of teeth, other dental diseases and a wide array of complications throughout the body.
Periodontal Disease in Dogs: Periodontal disease is a gradual process that begins with the formation of plaque on the teeth. Bacteria in the mouth form plaque, a bacterial film that adheres to the teeth. Next, minerals in saliva harden the plaque into dental tartar (calculus), which becomes firmly attached to teeth. The plaque and tartar, both of which contain bacteria, spread under the gum line.
Signs of Periodontal Disease in Dogs: The signs of periodontal disease depend upon the severity of the disease. The first thing most people will notice is halitosis. Dogs are not supposed to have bad breath. This is a sign of dental disease that should be addressed right away with your veterinarian.
Risks of Periodontal Disease in Dogs: Periodontal disease causes damage to gum tissue and bone around the teeth, leading to loss of these tissues. In addition, periodontal disease can also cause the following problems to occur in the mouth: Development of a hole (fistula) from the oral cavity into the nasal passages causing nasal discharge, weakening of the jaw bone that can lead to fractures and bone infection. It is important to understand that periodontal disease can lead to other major health problems throughout the body.
Treatment of Periodontal Disease in Dogs: The first treatment step is a professional dental cleaning by your veterinarian. This procedure must be done under general anesthesia.
Nicole Gueniat, DVM
Monrova Animal Medical Center
Have a question for Dr. Gueniat? Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org